Extended Essays Relating to The Beatles

To what extent did Buddy Holly, Minimalism and Indian music influence the music of the BeaTles?

The Beatles were the first band to come out of England to lead a generation and to be followed excessively by the world. From touring England in the early ‘60s, performing legendary shows on the Ed Sullivan show and in L.A., taking an inspirational three-month trip in India, to filming five ‘Beatle’ movies. Throughout their band lifetime, we have been able to seem them change from their early American influences, such as Buddy Holly and the Crickets,  Elvis Presley and founding Blues artists, in the turn of the 1950s and 1960s decade. We saw them becoming influenced by the pop-drug culture of the 1960s: the LSD period—where their songs became more surreal, ‘far-out’ and political. In their final years in a band we see members, especially George Harrison, becoming largely influenced by the great Ravi Shankar—combining Indian Classical Music with their already ‘Beatle-esque’ music. To find what extent these influences from the 50s, 60s and India, we must analyse their songs in depth. Analysing all of their songs would be sufficient to find influences from around the globe, however I am only able to analyse three, and so therefore I have decided to analyse those which seem most appropriate to their different genres they had. It is to say the least, however, that the Beatles were, throughout their band life, largely influenced by external factors, whether that be Blues or American pop music of the 50s, drug influence of LSD or Indian Classical music and Ravi Shankar.

The Influence of early Rock ‘n Roll on the music of the Beatles
Focus Piece: “In Spite Of All The Danger”

“In Spite Of All The Danger” was an early Beatles song composed by Paul McCartney and George Harrison. It was recorded in the home studio of Percy Phillips, July 1958, by Lennon, lead tenor vocal and rhythm guitar; McCartney, backing alto vocal and rhythm; Harrison, lead guitar and backing tenor vocal; John Lowe on the piano and Colin Hanton on the drums. The song was not professionally mastered by sound engineers until 1981, and released on the “Anthology 1” disc in 1995[1].
Both the Beatles' “In Spite Of All The Danger” and Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day” begin with bluesy intro guitar solos, both shown below.

“In Spite Of All The Danger”
                                                                                               Fig. 1
“That’ll Be The Day”

                                                                                               Fig. 2
 Looking at Fig. 2, we can see that Holly’s solo introduction is sophisticated: leaping more in the blues scale than the Beatles’ at the end of the first two bars, where Fig. 1 shows how the Beatles’ solo is more slow and swung melody. Though the differences are only slight, “That’ll Be The Day” in cut common time and “In Spite Of All The Danger” in common, both intros are 8 beats long and both use anacrusis with “In spite of all the…” and “Well…”

[B7]                 [E]
In   spite of all the danger
                                                                                                          Fig. 3

 Fig. 4

The use of anacrusis is used in many blues and American folk songs from the end of the Second World War. In both Fig. 3 and Fig. 4 we can see the use of anacrusis just before the primary I chord: in Fig. 3 and E, and in Fig. 4 a D. Anacrusis is repeated constantly throughout both songs, where in the Beatles’ it always appears in the vocal line “in spite of all the…” whereas in the Buddy Holly’s anacrusis is used at the end of every vocal phrase with only one word rather than phrases.
Chord progression in “In Spite Of All The Danger” and “That’ll Be The Day” also follow the same principle of blues but are used differently. “In Spite Of All The Danger” uses very simple and basic chord progressions throughout the entire piece. In E major, the Beatles’ use the route chords I (E), IV (A) and V (B). In comparison, Buddy Holly, though mostly keeping to primary chords like the Beatles, also uses more complex chords, such as Aaug7, D#dim and B9 (Fig. 5) Because of the complexity and cut timing of Buddy Holly’s piece, the chords change more regularly than the Beatles', where one can remain on E for four bars.

                                                                                             Fig. 5
Both songs use a very similar use of harmonies in the vocals. However, once can see a higher level of sophistication and complexity in the vocal harmonies of Buddy’s piece. In “That’ll Be The Day” harmonies not only give Buddy’s vocals a thick homophonic texture on import vocal phrases, such as “That’ll be the day” and “When I die” but also harmonize with the chord progressions which emphasize the sevenths and diminished. In contrast, the Beatles’ harmonies are less complex in comparison to Buddy Holly’s. Paul sings with John on the on the primary chords which emphasize the use of anacrusis throughout the song. For example, Fig. 3 Paul will sing with John on “Danger”. At the end of John’s vocal phrase, Paul climbs a minor seventh scale and attempts an old bluesy “wah-wah” technique in the bridge. Paul’s vocal harmonies increase the song’s pitch-range with these arpeggios he sings. In the outro, Fig. 6, John and Paul also increase the range of the pitch by experimenting with their voices. John goes much lower than before and Paul goes much higher.
                                                                                Fig. 6
On the last line of Fig. 6 “to me” is harmonized by Paul, where he scalatically harmonizes on E until finishing the song on the primary E chord.

                                                                                                                 Fig. 7
In contrast, Buddy Holly’s harmonies are detailed and thick in texture with tenor and bass singers male and female. Fig. 7 shows how only some areas are sung to create harmonize, the main motif of the Beatles’ track. The circled “That’ll be the day” shows where all the vocals sing, and the lines in between, for example: “when you say good-bye” and “when you make me cry” are followed by ‘aah-ah’s and ‘ooh-oh’s. Much like “In Spite Of All The Danger”, in “That’ll Be The Day” the vocals harmonies are left out during the anacrusis to bring a larger emphasis on the actual vocal phrases: for example in Fig. 5, the circled “Well” will not have backing vocal harmonies but, as mentioned, in Fig. 7 the circled “that’ll be the day” will.

The importance of instruments is also crucial to linking the Beatles' “In Spite Of All The Danger” to the Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day”. The guitar plays important roles in both songs, laying down the blues chords in both songs. 

By comparing the two solos of the guitars, Fig. 8 and Fig. 9, we can see that the complexity and skill requirement is much greater in Buddy’s solo compared to Harrison's. Where looking at Fig. 8 the solo can mostly be played on the 6th string on the guitar whereas Buddy’s range on the guitar is much higher. Harrison’s solo is played on the blues scale and is a variation of the 12 bar blues, from the I chord to the IV and ending on V. The melodic phrase of the solo is that of what was hinted at in the intro. Though both solos use the blues scale, Buddy Holly’s uses a large complexity with more blues features such as striking empty strings and muting strings. Because of the slower time signature in the Beatles’ piece, Harrison’s solo also seems a lot more swung and more orientated around the chords the background guitar plays. Unlike the Beatles’ piece, Buddy’s solo also includes a lot more rhythmic features, where around the 6th tablature down in Fig. 9, Buddy plays more chords to let the drums play.
The drum-kit in Buddy’s piece, and fact that the Beatles’ do not even include a drum-kit shows the ability and larger accessibility Buddy had compared to the early, poor Beatles. Though this may be true, it is important to see that the Beatles should not be considered incompetent to the Blues. In “In Spite Of All The Danger” one can hear the tinkering of a piano in the background, which importantly follows the chord progression in a bluesy fashion. It is interesting to see that the rhythmic interest of the drum set in “That’ll Be The Day” uses an extensive use of the ride symbol—much like in jazz music. Where the drums in “In Spite Of All The Danger” is too hard to distinguish due to the quality of the recording—where one can only really recognize the bass drum on every second beat through out the song. However, rhythmic interest is nevertheless created through the two guitars and piano. The way the guitars are strummed give the distinctive beat of the song.
The Bridge follows the verse, beginning with the IV chord: A. The bridge is also 8 bars long, and is played in a very similar fashion to that of the verse. However, towards the end of the bridge, all instruments stop after the B chord in the seventh bar, to emphasize John’s voice and to call an end to the bridge. Lennon continues to sing the first line of the third verse, accompanied by the instruments on “danger” in the second bar. After this verse, an instrumental follows along with a lead guitar solo from Harrison. 
During the solo, the other instruments repeat the harmonic accompany heard in the verses. The break then continues to the outro, where a verse is repeated with the addition of the lead guitar repeating the melody in the solo and the intro to call an ending to the song. Vocals harmonize scalatically with each other, and the instruments finish the verse with an I-IV-I chord progression and conclude with E major imperfect cadence.
The song is arguable early Rock ‘n Roll in the United Kingdom, with large influences from the United States’ Buddy Holly, however one could also argue that the song would have fit more suitably in the genre of blues, with George Harrison using the blues scale in his soloing and the I-IV-V 12 bar blues chord progression. One could go even further to argue that the piece had influences from U.S. Country music—vocal harmonies found similar in pieces such as “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” by The Tune Wranglers. Whatever this song’s genre may be, it remains certain that the song did not foreshadow the Beatle’s talent that would soon to come in the following years. However, Alan W. Pollack states that at the same time it would be “precipitant to dismiss them as merely uninteresting or incompetent juvenilia.”[2]
The Beatles were largely inspired by Buddy Holly and these influences can be see in this early piece. However, looking at an example of one of Holly’s pieces, such as “That’ll Be The Day”, one can see that his techniques and musical knowledge is much more complex and sophisticated that “In Spite Of All The Danger”. Though the fundamental form of the two songs are both very similar, both with regular phrase lengths, simple time signature and the extensive use of anacrusis, common both in the Blues and Beat music.

The Influence of LSD (change to Minimalism?) on the music of the Beatles
Focus Piece: “Tomorrow Never Knows”

Minimalism is a Western Art genre of the 20th Century that took place in the post Second World War era. Minimalism was a strong musical movement that had strong elements of repetition, pulse and the use of taped loops and ostinatos.
On the 6th of April 1966, the Beatles recorded “Tomorrow Never Knows” on the Revolver LP. The Beatles had confessed on different occasions to taking the hallucinogenic drug LSD, which, no doubt, had great influences on their compositions. After nearly a decade after “In Spite Of All The Danger”, the direction of the Beatles’ music had completely changed—becoming more flagrant and colourful in terms of style, melody and harmony.
The piece begins with an Indian tambura drone in C Major in common time. During the second bar of the tambura, the percussion enters on a looped tape. The rhythmic progression is very syncopated and emphasized on the “3+” beat, seen in Fig. 1. Syncopation is also very dominant in the lead vocals, where anacrusis is used to enable the vocal progression to syncopated. In Fig. 2, one can see that “Turn off—” appears syncopated in the end of the third bar: where “turn” is sung before the C note on the tambura. 

                                                                                                            Fig. 1

                                                                                                             Fig. 2

            Much like the Beatles, La Monte Young, a minimalist composer from the late 50s, also uses a drone in some of his works. If we look at “B Flat Dorian Blues”, performed in 1962, we can hear a drone throughout the entire song. Though the instrumentation is different to the Beatle’s, the effect of the drone is much the same. Instead of the Indian Tambura, La Monte Young uses voices and bowed guitar to create the drone effect. “Dorian Blues” is also an example of experimentalism in the percussion, where the hand percussion seems chaotic and disorganised much like the saxophone’s melody throughout the piece.
            La Monte Young’s saxophone experimentalism can also be compared to George’s guitar solo in “Tomorrow Never Knows”. George’s solo is played backwards throughout the recording, adding to the insanity and surrealism of the piece. Minimalism also had other strong elements that also appear in the Beatles' music. Repetition of tape looping was first mastered by Terry Riley at the start of the 1960s, and is also used in “Tomorrow Never Knows”. Fig. 5 shows a taped loop of George’s solo that is repeated a total of 11 times towards the end of the song. The seagulls, which appear throughout “Tomorrow Never Knows” is another example of splicing ‘real-world’ tapes and looping them into the song. In Terry Riley’s earliest taped looped piece, “Mescalin Mix”, a similar noise is heard. At around the 4th minute into the piece[3]
With help from the anacrusis, the syncopation in the vocals become very separated from the drone, the drums and the multiple looped tapes of seagulls. This separation creates many different layers to the homophonic texture of the piece. The piece then would fall apart if it were not for the underlying bass that holds all the different elements of the piece together. The bass line, seen in Fig. 3, is very much minimalistic, staying within the A and C note on the D string for the entire song. The simplicity of the bass line is very common in minimalism. Where we see in La Monte Young’s “Dorian Blues” the bass plays with the droned voice with a bow. La Monte Young’s “Dorian Blues, the percussion contrasts with that of the Ringo’s rhythm. Where Ringo’s percussion is consistent throughout the piece, La Monte Young’s is a lot more random and disorganised.

                                                                                                             Fig. 3

The surrealism of the piece is also reflected in the small pitch range of John’s voice. Monotonic almost, John is able to connect tonally with the drone, while still staying syncopated with it. By looking at Fig. 2 and Fig. 4, one can see the extent of the vocal’s pitch range. In Fig. 2, the vocals hardly stray from the E note until a small melodic change in the last bar, until ending on an E an octave lower.
The use of instruments is also very important in the piece. First, and most recognizably, the tabura used is not only very much Indian, but also common in neoclassical minimal music. In addition to the neoclassicism, an ensemble of strings is also used. Though not being played live like in neoclassicism, the looped taped and distortion of which is remarkably similar to that in minimalism. As Riley had used in several of his works, the Beatles repeated real-world sound loops—splicing and distorting them.
An organ is also used on the change of notes, as can be seen in Fig. 2 and Fig. 4, the changes from C to B. Guitar and piano are also used and can be seen as an old link the old “Rock ‘n Roll” style the Beatles used to play. The guitar solo is played within the blues scale, but yet the recording of which is warped, twisted and played backwards, which to add to the surrealism of the piece. The tinkering of the piano at the outro of the song is another reminder of the early Beatles.
                                                                                                             Fig. 4

                                                                                                                        Fig. 5

            It is interesting to note that the Beatles have a signature to hiding little elements within their songs. For example in “A Day In The Life” the phrase “sugar plum fairy” is used as a count-in and an alarm clock is used to switch from the A section to the B section. In “Tomorrow Never Knows” the Beatles used a single tone directly in the middle of the song, at 1:28. This tone would have signalled an hour check at radio-station or phone-station. The absurdity of the Beatles pulled them away from the typical pop genre and more towards a form of minimalism.
The genre of the Beatles had definitely changed, yet at the same time they had been able to maintain certain aspects of themselves through the change. Both new and old features appear in this piece. George Harrison says that change is a must and that one doesn’t live without changing. With the change from mainstream pop, the Beatles' associated themselves more with the neoclassical minimalism. Some aspects remained, such as syncopation in the drums had been apparent in older songs, along with the bluesy guitar in the break and Lennon’s singing—which the long triplets “open your mind…” are very similar to that of Buddy Holly’s “Wishing”. However the new aspects would also be followed in later songs, like “Revolution 9”—famously composed of taped loops. Although one can tell that the Beatles were expanding and experimenting they were able to hold on to what was able to make them so successful in their early years.

The influence of Indian music on the music of the Beatles
Focus Piece: “Within Without You”

            To help investigate to what extent the Beatles’ music was influenced by Indian music, I have taken the piece “Within Without You”, composed by George Harrison and appeared on the “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” album in 1967. This piece was chosen because of its dominant use of Indian instruments and similarities in structure with Indian music.
            By looking at the raga structures of Indian classical music we find that a similar structure can be found in the Beatles' “Within Without You”. The vadi and general structure are both present in the Beatles' piece. A raga can be characterized into three separate segments. The first being alap, where the soloist plays all the main phrases of the raga with no rhythmic accompaniment. The alap is for the soloist to bring “all the notes and the mood(s) of the raga to life”[4] The second section is the jor. The jor directly translated from Hindi means ‘join’. It brings a rhythmic pulse to the raga and introduces “introduce the notes of the raga in their musical context”. Finally the jhala, the most excited part of the raga. With increasingly fast 16 beats the notes of the raga are “twisted and broken by plucking the chikari[5] strings”. Fig. 1 shows an example of a basic rhythmic pattern of the jhala. The ‘c’ indicates where the contra strings are played, and ‘X’ where stress on the notes is played. In Fig. 1 each line represents 16 beats.


                                                                                     Fig. 1 [6]

            In Barun Kumar Pal’s “Raga Desh”[7], the three characterized segments can be seen in the raga.  From the beginning of the piece to 3:46, the alap is played, without rhythmic accompaniment. At around the 12th minute the jol segments moves to the jhala, where the piece becomes more rhythmically active and increases in tempo. The Beatles' “Within Without You”, though being one third of the length, also has these similarities in its structure. Though the alap is much shorter, only lasting 22 seconds, it is significant to note its appearance at all. Though comparing western scales with Indian ragas prove to differ in complexity, “Within Without You” seems rather similar to the Mixolydian mode. The Mixolydian mode has a Major third at the bottom and a flat 7th at the top[8]. This is also shown in Fig. 2 below.

Unlike Kumar Pal’s “Raga Desh”, “Within Without You” uses three leading melodic instruments: the Sitar, the Dilruba[9][10] and George’s vocals. In the introduction, or alap, of “Within Without You”, the Dilruba plays the leisurely mood of the song accurately with the accompaniment of a drone in C, the melody can be seen in Fig. 4. The sitar is introduced in the 7th bar, as shown in Fig. 3, playing a ascending scale. This is played just before the tabla begins to play. Alaps are supposed to be spread over a long period of time—where an entire piece can go on for much longer than an hour. If we look at another raga by Kumar Pal, “Raga Jog” the tabla only comes in at the end of the 24th minute.[11] To effectively explore every aspect of mood and notation of the raga, it is no surprise that the alap usually goes on for so long. However, “Within Without You” only has a few seconds to explore this movement, most likely because of the impossibility of putting an hour-long track on the “Sgt. Pepper” album.

                                                                                                         Fig. 4

This dilruba’s melody is also used is repeated often in the jhala segment of the piece, after the introduction of the tabla, at 0:23. However, George’s vocals add an extra layer to the piece, singing in unison to the melody of the dilruba. The melodic idea is repeated throughout the song. 
Though the instrumentation of the piece seems very Indian classical—with no other percussion accompaniment than the table, traditional instruments such as the sitar and dilruba—the piece does include western instruments. A string orchestra can be heard first at 1:12, where the jhala would begin. The strings, not only a strong western art influence, give a thicker homophonic texture to the piece as well as giving countermelodies and imitating phrases from the melodies of George and the dilruba. The melody the strings is a repetition seen in Fig. 4.
According to jhala, the raga should become more excited and dramatic. This is created through several steps taking by different elements within the song. Once the strings have made their first appearance, the cello develops a bass line with harsher and more frequent bows of the strings.  Seen below in Fig. 5.

                                                                                                          Fig. 5

Though the strings are a western influence of the song, the way they are played is very much influenced by Indian classical music. Sliding on the strings and Indian ornamentations occur frequently in the string ensemble. This is a key feature of Indian influence on western instruments. One could argue that George’s voice is used in very much the same way. Other western features occur in the song such as a change in the tala of the tabla, where it slows down at 1:50 and 2:20—in the jhala the tala of tabla would only speed up to create excitement towards the end of the piece.
            It is clear to see the Indian classical influence within “Within Without You” The instrumentation and ornamentation of the western string ensemble create a vibrant Indian feel to the song. Though the structure could be argued to have been very western—with an intro, verse, chorus, refrain and outro—they can also be grouped together as parts of a raga—alap, jol, jhala.

[1] http://www.beatlesbible.com/songs/in-spite-of-all-the-danger/
[2] http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DATABASES/AWP/shellac.shtml#q2
[3] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYqp-VD07lo
[4] http://india.tilos.hu/english_ragarend.html
[5] chikari, contra strings of the sitar, by the help of which the musical space can be filled, the chikari is also used to create the characteristic rhythm the jor and closing jhala
[7] “Raga Desh - Alap & Gat in Ektal” by Barun Kumar Pal in “Ragas On Hansa Veena”
[9] “Dilruba is a cross between the sitar and sarangi. The difference is to be found in the shape of the resonators and the manner in which the sympathetic strings attach.” http://chandrakantha.com/articles/indian_music/dilruba.html
[10] http://www.recmusicbeatles.com/public/files/awp/wywy.html: “a leisurely exposition by the dilruba of one of the main arch-shaped melodic riffs of the song”
[11]Raga Jog - Alap & Gat in Teental“ Barun Kumar Pal in “Ragas On Hansa Veena”
Research Question: “Comparing the Sgt. Pepper album cover artwork to two other famous album covers (David Bowie and The Rolling Stones), all released in June of 1967, but also in general; what made the Beatles album cover an artistic revolution?”



Second Draft


Research Question: “Comparing the Sgt. Pepper album cover artwork to two other famous album covers (David Bowie and The Rolling Stones), all released in June of 1967, but also in general; what made the Beatles album cover an artistic revolution?”

            Four young men from the United Kingdom conquer the musical world in no time, leaving a trail of creativity, dreams and causing revolution. One of the most reputable art works of the late 60’s was the artwork album cover for Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, which was released on the first of June in 1967.

             Its not only reflecting the Beatles music but also altered state of mind at that time. It contributed to the revolutionary change and replaced the poor attempts of art on the usual album covers, and immediately set a trend in the art and music industry. But what, except for the concept of being creative and original, were the essential ingredients to the success of this astonishingly unusual album cover?

            By comparing the Beatles Sgt. Pepper album cover artwork to two other albums released in the same month, one by David Bowie and the other by the Rolling Stones, I want to identify and be able to point out the tricks, illusions and artistic influences which played a crucial role in the Sgt. Pepper albums way to climb the throne of artistic revolution.

            Colour, symbolism and juxtaposition are all vital components of the sensation that has given album covers a new meaning, yet the main part of the magical transformation from packaging to meaningful art yet remains a mystery. ==Expand introduction by adding more details about how album covers ‘started’ and how they used to be, include size shape and measurements; inside sleeve; the back; usually only image of artist portrayed on front. ‘Keiner tanzt aus der Reihe, alles nach Reih und Glied da das wichtige nur die Musik war und nicht wie sie verpackt wurde.’ An idea triggering a monumental change in the art and music industry, as well as marketing and advertising agencies. David Bowie’s album, with the same title as his name, was released on the first of June in 1967, the same day as Sgt. Pepper. This is a perfect example of the ordinary album cover designs which were flooding the record shops.

(example of ordinary album covers in 1969)

Even though his genre was pop and folk-rock, his album cover artwork did not display a single hint to this, only an image of himself on a simple green background. In plain blue font (typical and ordinary 60s style font) his name was displayed which at the same time was the album title, not awakening any creative senses of the potential buyer.

            “Flowers” by the Rolling Stones was also released in June, to be precise on the 26th. Its genre is rock, but the attempt of trying to display and convey that on the album cover is poorly done. The so called art work consists of their five faces, each separately blooming like a flower out of the yellow middle. The flowers are red and yellow, and effort was wasted on trying to make it look psychedelic. The font used to spell out “flowers”, which also is the only spelling on the cover, reminds strongly of Jimmy Hendrix.

 The title of this album refers to the album cover, exactly the opposite of the Beatles album cover that displays the Sgt. Pepper band and is based upon such ideas. The artwork on this particular album cover is by Nicole Monea, Patricia Sheppard, Lenne Allik and Tom Wilked.

            Of course, a revolutionary piece of art does not happen by itself, therefore the brain behind the album cover artwork is a foundation stone which can eventually lead to the mystery of its success. The amount of time, effort and money spent into this project should never be underestimated – (actual amount 3 times more than first three albums together) and the numerous people playing a role in its production. The actual album cover artwork for Sgt. Pepper was designed by Peter Blake and his wife and artistic partner Jann Haworth. The art direction was lead by Robert Fraser, who was a friend of Paul’s and therefore was able to get him and Peter Blake in touch. The man who actually captured the wild collage was Michael Cooper, the set for Sgt. Pepper consisting of numerous life sized cardboard models, was put up in his photography studio for almost three weeks. As mentioned before, mystery plays an important part in this albums success route shooting through the roof. (first best album of the year grammy award winning) The colourful costumes worn by the Beatles on the cover are custom made military style outfits made out of satin which was dyed in day-glo colours. This extravagant creation was designed and produced by Manuel Cuevas. Because the name of the album was supposed to ‘make fun’ of the uselessly long names of some bands, the setting was supposed to be of the Sgt. Peppers band just finishing a concert. Of course the Beatles were allowed to choose whom they wanted to have in their ‘crowd’ on the album cover. George, Paul and John all made lists (Peter too for funsies) of the people they had wanted to see in the crowd. Ringo was content with the people the others chose and therefore was acting rather passive and not even creating his own list of heroes, idols, anybody he wanted to see on the cover since he had no particular wishes. This also ties in with him joining the band late and not really having anything to do with this particular topic. Because of copyrights and to avoid any legal complications, all living people which were chosen by the band were asked permission for using their picture on the album cover. Mae West refused at first to allow the Beatles to use her picture for the album cover, but after the Beatles wrote letter a personal letter, she agreed. Supposedly as a joke, John wanted Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus Christ. (previous happenings which stirred up the crowd – Lennon’s comment about the Beatles being “bigger than Jesus” .. decided against including Jesus). A lot of mystery has been put into this album cover by the buyers and fans themselves, by telling stories and spreading rumours which were made out of thin air. Such mystical stories included the “Paul is dead scare” where people supposedly found many clues on the cover to Paul’s death – example: hand sticking out above Paul’s head omen of death, him being taller than the rest, some arrow you can find by placing a mirror on the cover which will then point directly at McCartney.  Also, Paul is wearing an OPP badge, which stands for Ontario Provincial Police, on his right sleeve. Of course this was a chance the marketing advisors took, as it was a fantastic strategy to get more people to purchase the album.

Apparently the flowers spell out “Paul”

In this picture, people believe that it looks like Paul is being held up my John and George, being propped up since he is deceased. Also, he is in the foetal position which is how Indians bury their dead.

In the back cover of the album, of the four Beatles only Paul has his back to the camera. Notice also that the braids on the other three Beatles are no on their left sides, whereas on the front the braids were on the right. These braids have been consciously changed as wearing them on the left side is part of the military funeral dress code in England. 

On this picture, George appears to be pointing at the words “Wednesday morning at five o’clock as the day begins”, which was supposed to have been the time of Paul’s fatal accident.

            Before Fraser actually got into touch with Peter Blake about this project, he urged the Beatles to abandon their first album cover design by “The Fool” which was a psychedelic painting.

The whole concept of the cover was rearranged and improved, but in the end they did use The Fool’s designs for the inner sleeve for the first few pressings.

 At first the cover was supposed to display the Beatles, as the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band performing in a park. This idea was altered by more influences and brainstorming which developed into the idea of the Beatles as the Sgt. Pepper band being surrounded by a crowd which consists of their heroes, idols or important people in their lives.

Even their own wax figures were included because to them, this represented freedom of creativity and speech, and that it is possible to be anyone you desire to be.

            Flowers spell out the word BEATLES on the front cover of the album, therefore staying within the barriers of the park concept. The plants in the arrangement were often thought out to be cannabis plants, a statement made my many people who jumped to conclusion far too quickly only associating the explosion of colours and ideas with the drug background of the Beatles. The cover receives a personal touch by having some of John’s and George’s belongings placed in the arrangement.  On George’s left side, at the very edge of the scene, a Shirley Temple doll is visible wearing a sweater (rolling stones) (favour returned in their satanic majesties request). The drum placed in front of Paul and Ringo’s feet was painted by fairground artist Joe Ephgrave, this hand-painted drum skin was sold at Christie’s House in London in July of 2008 (10th) for 541,250 pounds which are approximately 1,071,000 US dollars. This set a record for Beatles auctions, a non-lyrics Beatles memorabilia. The large collage itself is filled with special personalities until the rim of the cover, more than 70 famous people including musicians, movie starts, writers and even Indian gurus which were listed on George’s list. Due to EMI’s fear of causing offence in India, Mahatma Gandhi was later removed from the crowd. Brian Epstein (Beatles manager) did not approve of the Sgt. Pepper album cover design – brown bag incident last wish. It was designed to be a gatefold album cover which meant that it would open up like a book and reveal the picture of them four sitting in their satin costumes against a contrasting yellow background. (compare to light blue background on the front – symbolism?) The gatefold was originally made for two LPs, and they had already been sent and printed when they realized that they did not have enough material for two LPs. Many extras and goodies were planned to be included in the album, but they figured it would become too expensive (more than it already was which was very unusual) therefore they decided on the cardboard cutouts.

(here include Paul and John Liverpool memory of 30 minute bus ride only to go to record store and read every letter and word on the cover on the way home, examine it – part of the experience).  The cardboard cutouts included a mustache, a picture card, stripes, badges and stand up.  Total amount of money spent on cover 2,868 5s 3d pounds which is equal to about 38,823 pounds today, which was a very large sum of money back then. “quote belmo; most creative piece of concept art ever designed for a record”.

This is a picture showing the “goodies” that were included in the original few printings of the album